Tuesday, October 20, 2020

KONG41 - Day Four

Nothing spectacular to report the last day. Signal levels were generally high on the trans-polar paths, but more interference than usual (or wanted) due to higher signals from Europe/Middle East as well. 

Pacific came early yesterday as well, with New Zealand mixing with UK at 09:00. The hope for a nice NHK-1 opening at 10:00 was lost due to increased noise levels.  The 1-kW Asahikawa relays in Enbetsu and Wakkanai (792 and 927 kHz) were nice and strong, also Aomori 963 and a few others. The noise levels were on the high side for the rest of the day.

Checking early night with Jaguar, one can see how WLQV Detroit 1500 changes from day power/pattern to night power/pattern. I would suspect they use two transmitters. The day transmisson is about 3 Hz high while the night transmission is about 8 Hz low. The drifting at the start of the night transmission might indicate a warm-up drift. WLQV is 50 kW days, 10 kW nights.

The main use of this feature is to spot stations with high daytime powers before they power down or power off.

Dinner was a bit the same as yesterday. The starter was different though, duck liver paste. The main course was leftovers from the lamb, cooked in Barolo with chopped vegetables thrown in. Then for dessert, another round of chocolate mousse with cloudberry jam. The duck liver paste was served with a 5 puttonyos Tokay Aszú from 2013. A Lopez de Heredia Rioja from 2008 went very well with the modified Barolo dish. Another round of Banyuls for the dessert.

We do test a few beers during our stay. Below is a selection...

Yesterday's weather: It warmed up a bit so the snow and sleet turned into rain. 3-4 degrees Celsius, some dry periods. This morning's view from the living room:

Monday, October 19, 2020

KONG41 - Day Three

Monday! How time flies. Sunday started off nicely with a few daytimers closing down, such as KUYO-WY 830, KQLX-ND 890, KKOJ-MN 1190 and KDOM-MN 1580. Signal levels were good all Sunday, but night reception was a bit disturbed from snow-induced noise. After checking the Mount Loran recordings, the WNJC 1360 test was heard at 05:41.

Pacific stations arrived early, the carrier from Tonga-1017 was visible from 06:30 and very well readable at 09:00. New Zealand arrived early as well, but so did the rest of the Asian continent so they weren't easy to pick.

Tonga, while still alone on the frequency

As the day passed, the snow shower activity eased off a bit, and spending time outdoor was quite pleasant. 

KONG HQ to the right, neighbours including the guesthouse to the left. Facing west.

As evening drew nigh, we did our usual unusual-beer routine, before settling at the dinner table. Starters was salmon tartare, consisting of smoked and fresh, sashimi-quality salmon, together with red onion and chive. A Knewitz Riesling Eisenerz accompanied this course very well.

The main course was a lamb thigh, baked at very low temperature for a very long time - 7 hours in fact. An excellent meal with mashed root vegetables and a spicy sauce. We chose Italian for the red wine, a Langhe Nebbiolo 2018.

Dessert was M&M... Magnificent and Massive! Chocolate Mousse with a cloudberry jam on top. Wow. A 2008 Banyuls didn't make it worse! All this bought us into instant and deep hibernation mode, from which we only just recovered!

Weather report: Snow and sleet showers which eased off during the day (and a starry starry night followed). Temperatures still just on the "red" side during the day, a few degrees below at night. Almost dead calm. We appreciate that.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

KONG41 - Day Two

 A somewhat uneventful night sort of peaked at 06:00 with loggings of rare WBHR Sauk Rapids MN 660, and new (to me) WVAL 800 from the same city. WREY-MN 630 also noted. Good signals from Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas - more suprising was that at the same time several Colombians were audible, and even Radio Monumental, Chacuí Paraguay 1080. And then KKMO-WA on 1360. Propagation which we, with directive beverage antennas, call unfocused.

WVAL-800 is a good example of "seeing the station" with Jaguar software. With CKLW being the huge channel dominant, it is useful to use the Jaguar Spectra tool to see which other stations are visible, but maybe buried in the dominant station's signal. As luck would have it, WVAL came from virtually nothing to a good signal a few minutes around the full hour, and then faded away.

The Spectra tool view also gives a good impression of how many stations are actually on the frequency, but not audible. Since stations tend to have small, and often stable offsets from the nominal frequency, one can make qualified guesses about station identity.

Ole arrived around noon after an arduous journey on snowy and icy roads. DX-peditioning is not for the faint of heart! Later on we did another trip to Mount Loran for battery and SSD replacements, and finishing antenna repairs. Frequent snow showers and slushy roads.

Dinner time! Fried salmon with carbonara. The white wine came all the way from New Zealand, a 2018 Yealand Sauvignon Blanc. For dessert we enjoyed a blueberry pie with custard, and of course Amaretto!

Weather is much the same, snow showers with clear skies in between and temperatures just below freezing.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

KONG41 - Day One

 OK, so here we go again! We were doing some math yesterday, and found out that over the past 24 years we've actually spent more than a year together on this location! Starting off with extremely basic equipment, and little comfort, the journey has been spectacular indeed.

Anyway, I picked up OJ Sagdahl at Berlevåg airport on Friday afternoon, and we headed directly towards our Mount Loran remote, battery-powered Perseus/Jaguar/1000-metre beverage setup. After replacing the battery and the SSD, we discovered that "something", most likely a reindeer, had messed around with the antenna. The antenna lead to the transformer had been torn off, so the last four nights of recording were total silence. After half an hour, the damage was repaired, and there was no sign of the reindeer so it probably got away unharmed.

Mount Loran remote setup, Kjølnes lighthouse in the background. Facing East.

Not too much to report station-wise - KGMI Bellingham WA 790 isn't too common though. Tonga-1017 and Marshall Islands-1098 were heard with moderate levels.

Early in the evening Ole Forr reported that he's on his way from Andøya, a 12-hour drive even in summer conditions. Now: Icy roads.

We were only two for dinner this first day: The usual self-composed Bjarne-style fish gratin. We were supposed to have chocolate pudding with custard for dessert, but there simply wasn't room for any more.

Ole told us this morning he decided to rest a bit in Karasjok before doing the last 280-km leg. We will head out towards Mount Loran later today to pick up the latest catches and do final antenna repairs. And with that, below is the usual morning picture from Kongsfjord. Temperatures just above freezing in the day, at or below at night.